The Wrestler

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Wrestler is by today’s standards a low budget American film that normally wouldn’t see the light of day at your local multiplex. Yet thanks to the towering performance by Mickey Rourke, even the major chains cannot resist showing what is a memorable film.

Rourke plays a wrestler, fallen on hard times and struggling to get by with a supermarket job and a weekly event, where fans still turn up to see him perform. The film is refreshing in that it captures a side of America we don’t often see. Widespread poverty, basic healthcare and living on the breadline are all here, combined with the craft of wrestling.

His career may be on its last legs, but physically the years of wrestling have taken their toll. Unfortunately his personal life is also a mess and it seems beyond salvation. The two main females (Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood) also perform admirably in the gritty environment.

You shouldn’t deny yourself this film simply due to the fear of men in spandex. The camaraderie between the wrestlers and how they organise (and endure) bouts hammers home what a tough spectacle it can be. It’s just a shame that the Saturday night showing was practically empty, with the masses favouring fodder instead of this.

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